Gephyrophobics! Let’s Unite!

Photo Credit: danmachold via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: danmachold via Compfight cc

My name is Rose, and I am a gephyrophobic,  a person who is afraid to drive over bridges.

(Welcome Rose.)

I am worried that the New NYBridge being built in New York to replace my beloved (barf) Tappan Zee Bridge will make me go nuts. I want to connect with others out there who also freak out when driving on a high road, up in the air, over water, without nets. We need representation.

If nothing is done to assuage our fears, when the New NYBridge is finished in 2018, those of us oppressed with panic attacks, may be forced to stay on one side of the Hudson for the rest of our lives!

From my side on the west, Rockland County, I might never be able to drive east to Westchester County and its pricey malls and restaurants. My bridge-fearing friends from Westchester may never come to visit us poor folks in Rockland County, which many Westchester people feel is a vast wilderness, close to the Adirondacks.

I’m suggesting we, gephyrophobics, form a task force designed to address our concerns. First thing I’d suggest is that we change our name to Brobics (bridge+phobics). Catchy, don’t you think?  I have tried to network with Important Bridge People (IBP) so that when they hear the chilling words, “Rosie and The Brobics are coming,” they will quake with fear. Knowing that we have the power to deliver hoards of Brobics for protests, boycotts, and basic acts of civil disobedience, they will immediately address our concerns.

For starters, Important Bridge People, as you convene your task force to listen to our concerns, it would be nice if you could set up that “drive-over” service. That way Brobics from both sides of the Hudson can meet as one group, on terra firma.

Thank you. Fellow Brobics out there, we need to get together and form a slogan and mission statement. All ideas are welcome.

Four Women Drive Together for Eleven Years…Over a Bridge


In 1976, we four women going back to work were the outliers. Most of the other mothers were at home, with their children.

We had no cell phones. Between us, however, we did have husbands, bills to pay, monthly periods and nine kids. When we started our carpool, the oldest kid was seven; the youngest, was learning to walk.

We were returning to full time teaching from maternity leave. We did not know each other before we met on that September day in 1976.  I was the oldest at 31, and Ellen was the youngest at 29.

For the next eleven years, our merry carpool crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge from our homes on one side of the Hudson River to the school where we all taught on the other side. On a good day, it would take us 40 minutes. On a bad day, it could take two hours.

On our daily ride, when we weren’t sleeping, sulking or squabbling, we talked to each other. We became friends.

Things change. Our carpool ended in 1987, and then, we all drove to work separately until each of us retired.

I am writing this because I read that The New Tappan Zee Bridge when it is finished in 2018 is going to probably have only electronic tolls. What fun is that? In 1976, when we carpooled, we paid $1.50 to cross and we actually touched the hand of another human being at the toll!

Technology changed. You may be reading this, now, on your phone or pad or whatever. I can’t keep up. You may also have children, husbands, bills and monthly periods, or not, if you’re old like me.

It’s hard to be a working mother. I know. It’s also hard to be a stay-at-home mother. I know that too. Now, because of technology, some of you can do both at the same time.  How’s that for a change? I think it’s for the better, but I am sure there are those of you who will disagree. Let me know.

When they tear the Old Tap down and replace it with the New Tap, it will be a celebratory event.

I, however, will be remembering those eleven years when I rode to work with my friends…

…even that time when one of us, in a snit, drove over the bridge while furiously pounding her hands on the steering wheel, and screaming in exasperation at me, the one with the fear of driving over the edge into the Hudson below.

But, for now, that’s all water under the bridge.